Sunday 05 July 2015

Bible Book:

“And they took offence at him.” (v. 3)

Mark 6:1-13 Sunday 5 July 2015

Psalm: Psalm 123


There's a theme in our passage today about prophets and theoccupational hazard they often face of turning people off.

In the first few verses Jesus has returned to his home town andreceived far from a hero's welcome. In the second section thetwelve are sent out, with a warning from Jesus that they will notalways be welcomed and may need to leave some places in haste. Thechapter continues by recounting the beheading of John the Baptist(Mark 6:14-29), a prophet who paid the ultimateprice for speaking truth to power.

Jesus' comment about prophets not being without honour except intheir home town was well-known in his day (verse 4), and he foundit painfully true in his own case. According to Mark this wasn'tthe first time his family had found his behaviour troubling: inchapter Mark3:21 they "went out to restrain him" when he returned to hishome village because they were worried about people saying he was"out of his mind".

It's always difficult to take seriously someone who comes fromthe same background as us and who appears to be 'making somethingof themselves'. We feel we know such people too well. We've seenthe side of them the general public hasn't. We know theirweaknesses, their failings, and, well, their ordinariness. We knowbetter, therefore, than to show them too much respect.

Perhaps there's a lesson here about being humble enough toaccept that a person's origins say nothing about their worthiness -or otherwise - to be heard. In Jesus' case, the price paid by hisfamily, and the friends he'd grown up with, for being scepticalabout him was extreme: "he could do no deed of power there" (v.5).

The passage also reminds us that preaching the gospel can causepeople to 'take offence', regardless of how well they know thepreacher. Unveiling the truth and calling for repentance - whetherin individuals or society - does not always go down well.

As Steve Turner wrote in his poem '7/8 of the truth, and nothing but the truth',those who are uncompromising in saying such things "do not getasked back. They get put in their place, with nails ifnecessary".


To Ponder

  • Should the gospel cause people to 'take offence'?
  • Why should a people's lack of faith affect Jesus' ability toperform miracles? Was the reverse often true?
  • Is it generally true that a prophet is not without honourexcept in their home town? Why?
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